Question: I have heard it is illegal in California to use a camera (such as the Roscoby Riser camera) that mounts onto your bow to film your hunts. Is this true? If so, why? (Shane S.)
Answer: Mounting a camera (with no spotlight) onto your bow is legal. It would only be a problem if it was an electronic device with lights to assist in the taking of game (California Fish and Game Code, section 2005).
Abalone and SCUBA diving on the same trip?
Question: We want to go abalone diving and SCUBA diving on the same day. I know we have to free dive for abalone, but we also want to SCUBA dive on the same trip. We live away from the coast but can only do a one-day trip, so which one should we do first? How can we do this without getting in trouble with a game warden who might think that we used the SCUBA for the abalone? (Matthew P.)
Answer: If you’re planning to be out on a boat, just make sure that you don’t have any SCUBA gear present on the boat while diving off of it. If you’re entering and exiting from the shore, be sure to leave your SCUBA gear in your car or in your camp. You could probably do your dives in either order but just be sure that it’s obvious your dives were done separately and that SCUBA assistance was not part of your abalone dive. The law prohibits having SCUBA gear on a boat or floating device when diving for abalone or when abalone are onboard. The law does not prohibit driving home from your dive site with both abalone and SCUBA gear in the same car.
Why can’t fishing licenses extend for 12 months from purchase?
Question: Has the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) ever considered a 12 month fishing license – good for 12 months from the date purchased? If not, is there a reason? Also, has the number of resident fishing licenses grown, stayed the same or declined in the past five years here in California? (Paul R.,San Diego)
Answer: Sport fishing license sales fluctuate, but generally, have been declining gradually for many years. The DFG maintains a website of license sales statistics at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/statistics/statistics.html.
According to DFG Sport Fishing Program Analyst Glenn Underwood, we occasionally receive suggestions to change the sport fishing license structure to make licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase. Generally, they come from anglers who do not fish until the summer or fall each year and do not wish to purchase a sport fishing license for the remainder of the year. Making fishing licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase would not reduce the number of licenses an angler has to purchase. If an angler doesn’t fish until July each year, the angler would have to purchase a new license each July, it would expire in June of the following year and the angler would still have to purchase a new license each year in July. There is no real advantage to the angler.
Several factors would have to be dealt with before sales of fishing licenses valid for one year from the purchase date could be implemented. For example, license years and expiration dates for fishing licenses and stamps are set in the Fish and Game Code and would have to be changed.
Several of DFG’s licenses are issued in the form of report cards. Report cards grant the licensee the privilege to pursue a particular species, and help DFG gather valuable data regarding the time spent pursuing the species and the number and location of the species harvested. If DFG switched to a license that’s valid for one year from the date of purchase, report card data would not be from the same time period. Therefore, it would not be very useful.
All of the states bordering California issue licenses that are valid for the calendar year, except Nevada which employs a license year of March 1 through Feb. 28. None offer licenses that are valid for one year from the date of purchase.
DFG offers several short-term fishing licenses for anglers not wishing to purchase an annual Sport Fishing License. Anglers who choose to fish only occasionally may want to purchase a Two-Day Sport Fishing License for $21.86 or a One-Day Sport Fishing License for $14.04.
DFG also provides two Free Fishing Days each year when anglers do not need licenses or stamps to fish, but appropriate report cards are required (e.g. sturgeon, steelhead, abalone, etc) and all other regulations such as size and bag limits must be followed. For 2011, Free Fishing Days will be held on July 2 and Sept. 3. In addition, a fishing license is not required while fishing from a public pier in ocean or bay waters.
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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.